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 Hatshepsut

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PostSubject: Hatshepsut   13/11/2010, 7:36 pm




Hatshepsut (or Hatchepsut,pronounced /hætˈʃɛpsʊt/),[3] meaning Foremostof Noble Ladies,[4](1508–1458 BC) was the fifth pharaohof the eighteenth dynasty of Ancient Egypt. Sheis generally regarded by Egyptologistsas one of the most successful pharaohs, reigning longer than any other woman ofan indigenous Egyptian dynasty.[citation needed]
Although poor records of her reignare documented in diverse ancient sources, Hatshepsut was described by earlymodern scholars as only having served as a co-regent from about 1479 to 1458BC, during years seven to twenty-one of the reign previously identified as thatof Thutmose III.[5] Today itis generally recognized[by whom?] that Hatshepsut assumed theposition of pharaoh and the length of her reign usually is given as twenty-twoyears, since she was assigned a reign of twenty-one years and nine months bythe third-century B.C. historian, Manetho,who had access to many records that now are lost. Her death is known to haveoccurred in 1458 BC, which implies that she became pharaoh circa 1479BC.
Comparison withother female rulers
Although it was uncommon for Egypt to beruled by a woman, the situation was not unprecedented. As a regent Hatshepsut was preceded by Merneith of the first dynasty, who was buried with the full honors of apharaoh and may have ruled in her own right. Nimaethap of the third dynasty may have been the dowager of Khasekhemwy, butcertainly acted as regent for her son,Djoser, and mayhave reigned as pharaoh in her ownright.[6] Queen Sobekneferu of the Twelfth Dynasty is known to have assumed formal power as rulerof "Upper and Lower Egypt" threecenturies earlier than Hatshepsut. Ahhotep I, laudedas a warrior queen, mayhave been a regent between thereigns of two of her sons, Kamoseand Ahmose I, at theend of the seventeenth dynasty and the beginning of Hatshepsut's own eighteenthdynasty. Amenhotep I, alsopreceding Hatshepsut in the eighteenth dynasty, probably came to power while ayoung child and his mother, Ahmose-Nefertari,is thought to have been a regentfor him.[7] Otherwomen whose possible reigns as pharaohs are under study include Akhenaten'spossible female co-regent/successor(usually identified as either Nefertitior Meritaten) and Twosret. Among thelater, non-indigenous Egyptian dynasties, the most notable example of anotherwoman who became pharaoh was Cleopatra VII, the last pharaoh of AncientEgypt.
In comparison with other femalepharaohs, Hatshepsut's reign was long and prosperous. She was successful in warfare early in her reign, but generallyis considered to be a pharaoh who inaugurated a long peaceful era. Shere-established trading relationships lost during a foreign occupation andbrought great wealth to Egypt.That wealth enabled Hatshepsut to initiate building projects that raised thecalibre of Ancient Egyptian architecture to a standard, comparable to classical architecture, that would not be rivaled by any otherculture for a thousand years.
Rule
Hatshepsut was given a reign ofabout twenty-two years by ancient authors. Josephus writesthat she reigned for twenty-one years and nine months, while Africanus states her reign lasted twenty-two years, both ofwhom were quoting Manetho. At thispoint in the histories, records of the reign of Hatshepsut end, since the firstmajor foreign campaign of TuthmosisIII was dated to his twenty-second year, which also would have beenHatshepsut's twenty-second year as pharaoh.[8] Datingthe beginning of her reign is more difficult, however. Her father's reign beganin either 1506 or 1526 BC according to the low and high chronologies, respectively.[9] Thelength of the reigns of Tuthmosis I and Tuthmosis II, however, cannot bedetermined with absolute certainty. With short reigns, Hatshepsut would haveascended the throne fourteen years after the coronation of Tuthmosis I, herfather.[10] Longerreigns would put her ascension twenty-five years after Tuthmosis I's coronation.[11] Thus,Hatshepsut could have assumed power as early as 1512 BC, or, as late as 1479BC.
The earliest attestation ofHatshepsut as pharaoh occurs in the tomb of Senenmut's parents where a collection ofgrave goods contained a single pottery jar or amphora from the tomb'schamber—which was stamped with the date Year 7.[12] Anotherjar from the same tomb—which was discovered in situ by a 1935–1936Metropolitan Museum of Art expedition on a hillside near Thebes—was stampedwith the seal of the 'God's Wife Hatshepsut' while two jars bore the seal of ' TheGood Goddess Maatkare. '[13] Thedating of the amphorae, "sealed into the [tomb's] burial chamber by thedebris from Senenmut's own tomb," is undisputed which means thatHatshepsut was acknowledged as the king of Egypt by Year 7 of her reign.[13] Shewanted to rule like a male, not to be outdone by the previous male pharaohs.She demanded to be called king, and his majesty.
Majoraccomplishments
Tradewith other countries was re-established; here trees transported by ship fromPunt are shown being moved ashore for planting in Egypt—relief from Hatshepsutmortuary temple
Djeser-Djeseruis the main building of Hatshepsut's mortuary templecomplex at Deirel-Bahri. Designed by Senemut, her vizier, the building is an example of perfect symmetry thatpredates the Parthenon, and itwas the first complex built on the site she chose, which would become the Valley of the Kings
Hatshepsut established the trade networks thathad been disrupted during the Hyksosoccupation of Egyptduring the Second Intermediate Period, thereby buildingthe wealth of the eighteenth dynasty.
She oversaw the preparations andfunding for a mission to the Landof Punt. The expedition set out in her name with five ships, eachmeasuring 70 feet(21 m)long bearing several sails and accommodating 210 men that included sailors and30 rowers. Many trade goods were bought in Punt, notably myrrh.
Most notably, however, theEgyptians returned from the voyage bearing thirty-one live myrrh trees, the roots of which werecarefully kept in baskets for the duration of the voyage. This was the firstrecorded attempt to transplant foreign trees. It is reported that Hatshepsuthad these trees planted in the courts of her Deir el Bahrimortuary temple complex. Egyptians also returned with living Puntites (peopleof Punt). This trading expedition to Punt was roughly during Hatshepsut'snineteenth year of reign.
She had the expeditioncommemorated in relief at Deirel-Bahri, which also is famous for its realistic depiction of the Queenof the Land of Punt, QueenIti, who appears to have had a genetic trait called steatopygia.Hatshepsut also sent raiding expeditions to Byblos and Sinai shortly after the Puntexpedition. Very little is known about these expeditions. Although many Egyptologists haveclaimed that her foreignpolicy was mainly peaceful,[14] there isevidence that Hatshepsut led successful military campaignsin Nubia, the Levant, and Syria early in her career.
Building projects
Hatshepsut was one of the mostprolific builders in ancient Egypt, commissioning hundreds of constructionprojects throughout both UpperEgypt and LowerEgypt, that were grander and more numerous than those of any of her Middle Kingdom predecessors. Later pharaohs attempted to claimsome of her projects as theirs.
She employed the great architect Ineni, who also had worked for her father,her husband, and for the royal steward Senemut.During her reign, so much statuary was produced that almost every major museumin the world has Hatshepsut statuary among their collections; for instance, theHatshepsut Room in New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art is dedicated solelyto some of these pieces.
Following the tradition of mostpharaohs, Hatshepsut had monuments constructed at the Temple of Karnak. She also restored theoriginal Precinctof Mut, the ancient great goddess of Egypt,at Karnak that had been ravaged by the foreignrulers during the Hyksos occupation.She had twin obelisks, at thetime the tallest in the world, erected at the entrance to the temple. One stillstands, as the tallest surviving ancient obelisk on Earth; the other has brokenin two and toppled.
Another project, Karnak'sRed Chapel, or ChapelleRouge, was intended as a barque shrine and originally, may havestood between her two obelisks. She later ordered the construction of two moreobelisks to celebrate her sixteenth year as pharaoh; one of the obelisks brokeduring construction, and thus, a third was constructed to replace it. Thebroken obelisk was left at its quarrying site in Aswan, where it still remains. Known as The Unfinished Obelisk, it demonstrates how obelisks werequarried.[15]
The Temple of Pakhet was built by Hatshepsut at Beni Hasan in the Minya Governorate south of Al Minya. The name, Pakhet was a synthesis that occurred by combining Bast and Sekhmet, who were similar lioness war goddesses, in an area that bordered the north and south division of their cults. The cavernous underground temple, cut into the rock cliffs on the eastern side of the Nile, was admired and called the Speos Artemidos by the Greeks during their occupation of Egypt, known as the Ptolemaic Dynasty. They saw the goddess as a parallel to their hunter goddess Artemis. The temple is thought to have been built alongside much more ancient ones that have not survived. This temple has an architrave with a long dedicatory text bearing Hatshepsut's famous denunciation of the Hyksos that has been translated by James P. Allen.[16] They had occupied Egypt and cast it into a cultural decline that persisted until a revival brought about by her policies and innovations. This temple was altered later and some of its inside decorations were usurped by Seti I, in the nineteenth dynasty, attempting to have his name replace that of Hatshepsut.
Following the tradition of manypharaohs, the masterpiece of Hatshepsut's building projects was her mortuary temple.She built hers in a complex at Deir el-Bahri. Itwas designed and implemented by Senemut at a site on the West Bank of the Nile River near theentrance to what now is called the Valley of the Kings because of all the pharaohs who laterchose to associate their complexes with the grandeur of hers. Her buildingswere the first grand ones planned for that location. The focal point was the Djeser-Djeseru or"the Sublime of Sublimes", a colonnadedstructure of perfect harmony nearly one thousand years before the Parthenon wasbuilt. Djeser-Djeseru sits atop a series of terraces that once were graced with lush gardens. Djeser-Djeseru is built into a cliff face that rises sharply above it.Djeser-Djeseru and the other buildings of Hatshepsut's Deir el-Bahri complexare considered to be significant advances in architecture. Another one of hergreat accomplishments is the Hatshepsut needle (also known as the granite obelisks).
Official lauding
Hyperbole iscommon, virtually, to all royal inscriptions of Egyptian history. While allancient leaders used it to laud their achievements, Hatshepsut has been calledthe most accomplished pharaoh at promoting her accomplishments.[17] This mayhave resulted from the extensive building executed during her time as pharaoh,in comparison to many others. It afforded her with many opportunities to laudherself, but it also reflects the wealth that her policies and administrationbrought to Egypt, enabling her to finance such projects. Aggrandizement oftheir achievements was traditional when pharaohs built temples and their tombs.
Largegranite sphinx bearing the likeness of the pharaohHatshepsut, depicted with the traditional false beard, a symbol of herpharaonic power—Metropolitan Museum of Art
Women had a high status in ancientEgypt and enjoyed the legal right to own, inherit, or will property. A womanbecoming pharaoh was rare, however; only Khentkaues, Sobekneferu, Neferneferuaten andpossibly Nitocris[18] precededher in known records as ruling solely in their own name. The existence of thislast ruler is disputed and is likely a mis-translation of a male king. Twosret, a femaleking and the last pharaoh of the nineteenth dynasty, may have been the onlywoman to succeed her among the indigenous rulers. In Egyptian history, therewas no word for a "queen regnant" and by the time of her reign, pharaohhad become the name for the ruler. Hatshepsut is not unique, however, in takingthe title of king. Sobekneferu, ruling six dynasties prior to Hatshepsut, alsodid so when she ruled Egypt. Hatshepsut had been well trained in her duties asthe daughter of the pharaoh. During her father's reign she held the powerfuloffice of God'sWife. She had taken a strong role as queen to her husband andwas well experienced in the administration of her kingdom by the time shebecame pharaoh. There is no indication of challenges to her leadership and,until her death, her co-regent remained in a secondary role, quite amicablyheading her powerful army—which would have given him the power necessary tooverthrow a usurper of his rightful place, if that had been the case.
Hatshepsut assumed all of the regalia and symbolsof the pharaonic office in official representations: the Khat head cloth,topped with the uraeus, thetraditional false beard,and shendyt kilt.[17] Manyexisting statues alternatively show her in typically feminine attire as well asthose that depict her in the royal ceremonial attire. Statues portrayingSobekneferu also combine elements of traditional male and female iconography and, bytradition, may have served as inspiration for these works commissioned byHatshepsut.[19] Afterthis period of transition ended, however, most formal depictions of Hatshepsutas pharaoh showed her in the royal attire, with all of the pharaonic regalia.
At her mortuary temple, in Osirianstatues that regaled the transportation of the pharaoh to the world of thedead, the symbols of the pharaoh as Osiris were the reason for theattire and they were much more important to be displayed traditionally, herbreasts are obscured behind her crossed arms holding the regal staffs of the twokingdoms she ruled. This became a pointed concern among writers who soughtreasons for the generic style of the shrouded statues and led tomisinterpretations. Understanding of the religious symbolism was required tointerpret the statues correctly. Interpretations by these early scholars variedand often, were baseless conjectures of their own contemporary values. Thepossible reasons for her breasts not being emphasized in the most formalstatues, were debated among some early Egyptologists, who failed to take intoaccount the fact that many women and goddesses portrayed in ancient Egyptianart often lack delineation of breasts, and that the physical aspect of thegender of pharaohs was never stressed the art. With few exceptions, subjectswere idealized.
Osirian statues of Hatshepsut at her tomb,one stood at each pillar of the extensive structure, note the mummificationshroud enclosing the lower body and legs as well as the crook and flailassociated with Osiris—Deir el-Bahri
Modern scholars, however, havetheorized that by assuming the typical symbols of pharaonic power, Hatshepsutwas asserting her claim to be the sovereign rather than a "King's GreatWife" or queen consort. The gender of pharaohs was never stressed inofficial depictions; even the men were depicted with the highly stylized falsebeard associated with their position in the society.
Moreover, the Osirian statuesof Hatshepsut—as with other pharaohs—depict the dead pharaoh as Osiris, with the body and regalia of thatdeity. All of the statues of Hatshepsut at her tomb follow that tradition. Thepromise of resurrection after death was a tenet of the cult of Osiris. Sincemany statues of Hatshepsut depicted in this fashion have been put on display inmuseums and those images have been widely published, viewers who lack anunderstanding of the religious significance of these depictions have beenmisled.
Most of the official statuescommissioned of Hatshepsut show her less symbolically and more naturally, as awoman in typical dresses of the nobility of her day. Notably, even afterassuming the formal regalia, Hatshepsut still described herself as a beautifulwoman, often as the most beautiful of women, and although she assumed almostall of her father's titles, she declined to take the title "The StrongBull" (the full title being, The Strong Bull of his Mother), whichtied the pharaoh to the goddesses Isis,the throne, and Hathor,(the cow who gave birth to and protected the pharaohs)—by being her son sittingon her throne—an unnecessary title for her, since Hatshepsut becameallied with the goddesses, herself, which no male pharaoh could. Rather thanthe strong bull, Hatshepsut, having served as a very successful warrior duringthe early portion of her reign as pharaoh, associated herself with the lionessimage of Sekhmet, the major war deity in the Egyptian pantheon.
Religious concepts were tied intoall of these symbols and titles. By the time of Hatshepsut's reign, the mergerof some aspects of these two goddesses provided that they would both have givenbirth to, and were the protectors of, the pharaohs. They became interchangeableat times. Hatshepsut also traced her lineage to Mut, a primal mother goddess of the Egyptian pantheon,which gave her another ancestor who was a deity as well as her father andgrandfathers, pharaohs who would have become deified upon death.
While Hatshepsut was depicted inofficial art wearing regalia of a pharaoh, such as the false beard that malepharaohs also wore, it is most unlikely that she ever wore such ceremonial decorations,just as it is unlikely that the male pharaohs did. Statues such as those at theMetropolitan Museum of Art, depicting her seated wearing a tight-fitting dressand the nemes crown, arethought to be a more accurate representation of how she would have presentedherself at court.[20]
As a notable exception, only onemale pharaoh abandoned the rigid symbolic depiction that had become the styleof the most official artwork representing the ruler, Pharaoh Amenhotep IV (laterAkhenaten) of the same eighteenth dynasty, whose wife, Nefertiti, also mayhave ruled in her own right following the death of her husband.
One of the most famous examples ofthe legends about Hatshepsut is a myth about her birth. In this myth, Amun goes to Ahmose in the form ofThutmose I and awakens her with pleasant odors. At this point Amun places the ankh, a symbol of life, to Ahmose'snose, and Hatshepsut is conceived by Ahmose. Khnum, the god who forms the bodies ofhuman children, is then instructed to create a body and ka, or corporal presence/life force, for Hatshepsut. Heket, the goddess of life and fertility,and Khnum then lead Ahmose along to a lioness bed whereshe gives birth to Hatshepsut. Reliefs depicting each step in these events areat Karnak and in her mortuary temple.
The Oracle of Amun proclaimed that it was thewill of Amun that Hatshepsut be pharaoh, further strengthening her position.She reiterated Amun's support by having these proclamations by the god Amuncarved on her monuments:
Hatshepsut claimed that she washer father's intended heir and that he made her the heir apparent of Egypt.Almost all scholars today view this as historical revisionism, or prolepsis, onHatshepsut's part since it was Thutmose II—a sonof Thutmose I by Mutnofret—whowas her father's heir. Moreover, Thutmose I could not have foreseen that hisdaughter Hatshepsut would outlive his son within his own lifetime. Thutmose IIsoon married Hatshepsut and the latter became both his senior royal wife andthe most powerful woman at court. Biographer Evelyn Wells,however, accepts Hatshepsut's claim that she was her father's intendedsuccessor. Once she became pharaoh herself, Hatshepsut supported her assertionthat she was her father's designated successor with inscriptions on the wallsof her mortuary temple:
American humorist Will Cuppy wrote anessay on Hatshepsut which was published after his death in the book TheDecline and Fall of Practically Everybody. Regarding one of her wallinscriptions, he wrote,
Death, burial andmummy
Hatshepsut died as she wasapproaching, what we would consider middle age giventypical contemporary lifespans, in her twenty-second regnal year.[24] Theprecise date of Hatshepsut's death—and the time when Thutmose III became solepharaoh of Egypt—is considered to be Year 22, II Peret day 10 of theirjoint rule, as recorded on a single stela erected at Armant[25] orJanuary 16, 1458 BC.[26] Thisinformation validates the basic reliability of Manetho's kinglist records sinceThutmose III and Hatshepsut's known accession date was I Shemu day 4.[27] (i.e.:Hatshepsut died 9 months into her 22nd year as Manetho writes in his Epitomefor a reign of 21 years and 9 months) No contemporary mention of the cause ofher death has survived. If the recent identification of her mummy (see below)is correct, however, the medical evidence would indicate that she suffered fromdiabetes and died from bonecancer which had spread throughout her body while she was in herfifties.[2][28] It alsowould suggest that she had arthritis and bad teeth.[2]
Seealso: KV20
Hatshepsut had begun constructionof a tomb when she was the Great Royal Wife of Thutmose II, but the scale ofthis was not suitable for a pharaoh, so when she ascended the throne,preparation for another burial started. For this KV20, originally quarried for her fatherThutmose I and probably the first royal tomb in the Valley of the Kings, was extended with a new burial chamber.Hatshepsut also refurbished the burial of her father and prepared for a doubleinterment of both Thutmose I and herself within KV20. It is therefore likelythat when she died (no later than the twenty-second year of her reign), she wasinterred in this tomb along with her father.[29] However,during the reign of Thutmose III, a new tomb (KV38) together with new burial equipmentwas provided for Thutmose I, who was therefore removed from his original tomband re-interred elsewhere. At the same time Hatshepsut's mummy might have beenmoved into the tomb of her wet nurse, Sitre-Re, in KV60. It is possible that Amenhotep II, sonto Thutmose III by a secondary wife, was the one motivating these actions in anattempt to assure his own succession. Besides what was recovered from KV20during HowardCarter's clearance of the tomb in 1903, other funerary furniturebelonging to Hatshepsut has been found elsewhere, including a lioness"throne" (bedstead is a better description), a senet game board with carvedlioness-headed, red-jasper game pieces bearing her pharaonic title, a signetring, and a partial shabti figurinebearing her name. In the Royal Mummy Cache at DB320, an ivory canopic coffer was foundthat was inscribed with the name of Hatshepsut and contained a mummified liveror spleen as well as a tooth. However, there was a royal lady of thetwenty-first dynasty of the same name, and this could belong to her instead.[30]
Changingrecognition
Toward the end of the reign of Thutmose III andinto the reign of his son, an attempt was made to remove Hatshepsut fromcertain historical and pharaonic records. This elimination was carried out inthe most literal way possible. Her cartouches and images were chiselled offsome stone walls, leaving very obvious Hatshepsut-shaped gaps in the artwork.
At the Deir el-Bahritemple, Hatshepsut's numerous statues were torn down and in many cases, smashedor disfigured before being buried in a pit. At Karnak, there even was anattempt to wall up her obelisks. While it is clear that much of this rewritingof Hatshepsut's history occurred only during the close of Thutmose III's reign,it is not clear why it happened, other than the typical pattern of self-promotionthat existed among the pharaohs and their administrators, or perhaps savingmoney by not building new monuments for the burial of Thutmose III and instead,using the grand structures built by Hatshepsut.
Amenhotep II, whobecame a co-regent of Thutmose III before his death, however, would have had amotive because his position in the royal lineage was not so strong to assurehis elevation to pharaoh. He is suspected by some as being the defacer duringthe end of the reign of a very old pharaoh. He is documented, further, ashaving usurped many of Hatshepsut's accomplishments during his own reign. Hisreign is marked with attempts to break the royal lineage as well, not recordingthe names of his queens and eliminating the powerful titles and official rolesof royal women such as, God's Wife of Amun.[31]
For many years, presuming that itwas Thutmouse III acting out of resentment once he became pharaoh, early modernEgyptologists presumed that the erasures were similar to the Roman damnatio memoriae.This appeared to make sense when thinking that Thutmose might have been anunwilling co-regent for years. This assessment of the situation probably is toosimplistic, however. It is highly unlikely that the determined and focused Thutmose—notonly Egypt's most successful general, but an acclaimed athlete, author,historian, botanist, and architect—would have brooded for two decades of hisown reign before attempting to avenge himself on his stepmother and aunt.According to renowned Egyptologist Donald Redford:
The erasures were sporadic andhaphazard, with only the more visible and accessible images of Hatshepsut beingremoved; had it been more complete, we would not now have so many images ofHatshepsut. Thutmose III may have died before these changes were finished andit may be that he never intended a total obliteration of her memory. In fact,we have no evidence to support the assumption that Thutmose hated or resentedHatshepsut during her lifetime. Had that been true, as head of the army, in aposition given to him by Hatshepsut (who was clearly not worried about herco-regent's loyalty), he surely could have led a successful coup, but he madeno attempt to challenge her authority during her reign and, her accomplishmentsand images remained featured on all of the public buildings she built fortwenty years after her death.
Writers such as Joyce Tyldesleyhypothesized that it is possible that Thutmose III, lacking any sinister motivation,decided toward the end of his life, to relegate Hatshepsut to her expectedplace as the regent—which was the traditional role of powerful women in Egypt'scourt as the example of Queen Ahhotepattests—rather than king. By eliminating the more obvious traces ofHatshepsut's monuments as pharaoh and reducing her status to that of hisco-regent, Thutmose III could claim that the royal succession ran directly fromThutmose II to Thutmose III without any interference from his aunt.
The deliberate erasures ormutilations of the numerous public celebrations of her accomplishments, but notthe rarely seen ones, would be all that was necessary to obscure Hatshepsut'saccomplishments. Moreover, by the latter half of Thutmose III's reign, the moreprominent high officials who had served Hatshepsut would have died, therebyeliminating the powerful religious and bureaucratic resistance to a change indirection in a highly stratified culture. Hatshepsut's highest official andclosest supporter, Senenmut seems either to have retired abruptly or diedaround Years 16 and 20 of Hatshepsut's reign and, was never interred in eitherof his carefully prepared tombs.[33]According to Tyldesley, the enigma of Senenmut's sudden disappearance"teased Egyptologists for decades" given the lack of solidarchaeological or textual evidence" and permitted "the vividimagination of Senenmut-scholars to run wild" resulting in a variety ofstrongly held solutions "some of which would do credit to any fictionalmurder/mystery plot."[34] Newercourt officials, appointed by Thutmose III, also would have had an interest inpromoting the many achievements of their master in order to assure thecontinued success of their own families.
Tyldesley also put forth ahypothesis about Hatshepsut suggesting that Thutmose III's erasures anddefacement of Hatshepsut's monuments were a cold but rational attempt onThutmose's part to extinguish the memory of an "unconventional female kingwhose reign might possibly be interpreted by future generations as a graveoffence against Ma'at, and whoseunorthodox coregency" could "cast serious doubt upon the legitimacyof his own right to rule. Hatshepsut's crime need not be anything more than thefact that she was a woman."[35] Heasserted that Thutmose III may have considered the possibility that the exampleof a successful female king in Egyptian history could set a dangerous precedentsince it demonstrated that a woman was as capable at governing Egypt as atraditional male king. This event could, theoretically, persuade "futuregenerations of potentially strong female kings" to not "remaincontent with their traditional lot as wife, sister and eventual mother of aking" instead and assume the crown.[36] WhileQueen Sobekneferu ofEgypt's Middle Kingdom had enjoyed a short c.4 year reign, she ruled "atthe very end of a fading [12th dynasty] Dynasty, and from the very start of herreign the odds had been stacked against her. She was, therefore, acceptable toconservative Egyptians as a patriotic 'Warrior Queen' who had failed" torejuvenate Egypt's fortunes—a result which underlined what Tyldesley describedas the traditional Egyptian view that a woman was incapable of holding thethrone in her own right,;[37] hence,few Egyptians would desire to repeat the experiment of a female monarch.
In contrast, Hatshepsut's gloriousreign was a completely different case: she demonstrated that women were ascapable as men of ruling the two lands since she successfully presided over aprosperous Egypt for more than two decades.[37] IfThutmose III's intent here was to forestall the possibility of a woman assumingthe throne, he failed since Twosret and Neferneferuaten (possibly), a femaleco-regent or successor of Akhenaten, assumed the throne during the New Kingdomafter his reign. Unlike Hatshepsut, however, these later rulers enjoyed onlybrief and short-lived reigns.
The erasure of Hatshepsut's name,whatever the reason or the person ordering it, almost caused her to disappearfrom Egypt's archaeological and written records. When nineteenth-centuryEgyptologists started to interpret the texts on the Deir el-Bahritemple walls (which were illustrated with two seemingly male kings) theirtranslations made no sense. Jean-Francois Champollion, the French decoder of hieroglyphs, wasnot alone in feeling confused by the obvious conflict between words andpictures:
The 2006 discovery of a foundation deposit including nine golden cartouches bearingthe names of both Hatshepsut and Thutmose III in Karnak may shed additional light on theeventual attempt by Thutmose III and his son Amenhotep II to erase Hatshepsutfrom the historical record and the correct nature of their relationships andher role as pharaoh.
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